Pics tips

Hold your camera properly

You might not know it, but there is a right way and a wrong way to hold a DSLR camera. The correct way is to support the lens by cupping your hand underneath it. This is usually done with the left hand, with your right hand gripping the body of the camera. This helps to prevent camera shake. If you are gripping your camera with your hands on either side of the camera body, there is nothing supporting the lens, and you might end up with blurry photos. To get an even stabler stance, tuck your elbows into the side of your body.

Become one with the camera

Push the button regardless of the outcome so the camera becomes part of your hand. — Dean Saffron Dean Saffron is a photojournalist and an ABC Open superstar. His video The Spokesman, has had over 170,000 views. Woah!

Variation

Variation is key. I often use a recipe from Life Magazine picture editors for building a story narrative. I look for: over-all shots or scene-setters, interaction, action, portraits, details, medium shots and of course the signature image. Having this list in my head helps me start photographing a story that sometimes isn’t visually apparent until you get into it. This is great when you’re in a crowded or busy place. — Heather Faulkner

Don’t spend too much time post-processing

The key is to get it right in the camera first, so you don’t HAVE to spend time editing. Over working a photo in editing software very rarely looks good, unless you are trying to achieve a super-artsy effect. If it takes you longer than ten minutes to alter your photo, maybe think about going back out into the field to re-shoot it.

Exposure

I’ve been shooting a lot of protests lately. Basically, they’re just a lot of people really close to one another; often moving. After having made many mistakes with getting my exposures right, I worked out that if the sun is behind me and in the face of protestors I will set exposure compensation to underexpose by a stop to bring out even tonal range. When the sun is behind the protestors I like to over expose just slightly to bring out the shadow details on their faces. This could apply to street photography when the light is in front or behind your subject. — Justin Wilkes

Watermarks

This tip isn’t in direct relation to TAKING photos, but it does affect the look of photos. When it comes to watermarks, the smaller the better. And if you can avoid using them, do. Chances are, unless you are a paid professional, there’s not much of a chance of your photos getting nicked. But in reality, they won’t prevent your images from getting stolen. They only distract from the fabulous image that you’ve created, because once you’ve slapped a watermark all over it, that’s all the viewer will be looking at. The only way you can prevent your images from being stolen is to not publish them on the internet. Read Open producer Luke Wong’s blog post on watermarks here.

Rule of Thirds

This is one of the most common tips that pop up when it comes to improving your photos. To break it down, you cut your frame into thirds by using both horizontal and vertical lines. You then place your point of interest over the cross sections of the grid. Check out this article for further details about using the rule of thirds.

Be aware of backgrounds

What’s in your frame? So often I see great photos and think “didn’t they see that garbage bin, ugly wall, sign, etc?” It’s not just the person or object in your frame, it’s everything else in the background that can make or break a great photograph. So don’t be afraid to ask the person to move (or move yourself) to avoid something ugly in the background. — Marina Dot Perkins

Perspective

Minimize the belly-button photograph. This is a reference to Moholy Nagy of the Bauhaus movement in photography (which was all about lines of perspective). In other words, perspectives are more engaging when we crouch down, or lie down, or elevate our position in reference to the subject. Look at how changing your perspective can change the visual language and implied power dynamics of the image. Crouching low can make your subject more dynamic, whereas gaining height on your subject can often minimize their presence in the image. One of my favorite exercises is to make my students lie down and take pictures, often in the dirt. I am a little cheeky. — Heather Faulkner

Don’t get bogged down by equipment

We’ve all seen these types of photographers out and about. They usually have three or four different cameras strapped around their necks with lenses long enough for an African safari. In reality, there’s probably no need for all that equipment. One body with one or two lenses means that you’ll be freer in your movements to capture interesting angles or subjects on the move.

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